Five parks in Chilliwack are now home to little house-shaped libraries that also double as pieces of public art.
It was a team effort to bring the libraries to the parks, said Tony Gore with Gore Brothers Group who helped with the project.
“That’s why I love projects like this, everyone is totally into it,” he said. “It was a fun project to bring everyone together to build this cool thing, which isn’t just book houses but also art exhibits.”
What makes the book houses unique are the hand-painted murals on them by local artist Jack Hendsbee.
Hendsbee painted images of dinosaurs, astronauts and children having fairytale adventures. The children in the paintings are none other than the young children of Tony and his brother Mark Gore, who all helped build the houses.
Tony’s kids, seven-year-old Wyatt and five-year-old Naomi, and Mark’s six-year-old son Jack not only helped build the book houses, but shared with Hendsbee their ideas of what they wanted to see on the side of them.
One of the kids riding a dragon? It’s on there. The children floating through space? Hendsbee made it happen.
He painted the murals on small canvases and then Gidney Signs transferred them to sheets of metal. If one ever gets damaged, it can be printed off again and replaced.
It was Rotarian Arlene Ackerman who contacted the Gore Brothers asking if they could build more book houses for parks throughout Chilliwack.
The Gores had already built one which was installed about four or five years ago in River’s Edge, so they took that house-shaped design and went on to build five more.
Carpenter Tonny Cormier built the wooden frames for the libraries, then the Gores and their young children completed the construction.
Richard Fortin, manager of parks planning for the City of Chilliwack, gave them a list of ideal locations for the book houses.
The libraries were revealed on Thursday, Nov. 10 at Fairfield Park. One will be installed there and the other four at Barber Park, Kinsmen Park on Portage (Portage Park), Jinkerson Park and Sardis Park.
After completing the project, Hendsbee brought one of the book houses and his painting supplies to Wyatt’s Grade 2/3 class and gave the students a lesson on how to paint. Each kid received a little canvas board and Hendsbee went step-by-step showing them how to paint and how to mix colours.
“They were incredibly receptive and had a blast,” Tony Gore said.
The book houses will be restocked regularly by the Rotary Club of Chilliwack.